The baseball league will be open to children in kindergarten through fifth grade and play its games at diamonds throughout the city, Ferrell said.
Meanwhile, across the county in Hamilton, Little League baseball has been played for decades, and the team, West Side All-Stars, has enjoyed tremendous success. The team has won 19 states titles over five decades and qualified for the Little League World Series five times.
This year, with no international teams in the LLWS due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Hamilton team lost to Michigan in the championship game.
Ferrell said his “dream and belief” is that one day a Middletown team will play in the LLWS.
“If Hamilton can do it, by golly, we can do it,” Ferrell said. “The sky is the limit.”
Being accepted to play in Little League was another important step for the organization to reach its next goal, Ferrell said.
“It’s the recognizable league,” he said. “Little League is a huge win for us.”
JD Foust, Middletown High School’s athletic director, called joining the Little League “one step in the right direction” toward turning around the city’s youth baseball program.
“This is great for Middletown,” said Foust, adding a high school’s athletic success is tied to its youth programs.
Middie Way Baseball, a volunteer-based organization, has been assisted by the City of Middletown, a local firefighters union and arguably the city’s best known professional baseball player.
Middletown City Council voted to give Middie Way Baseball a $10,000 grant to purchase equipment and the firefighters union presented a $16,564.98 check, proceeds from its golf tournament, to the organization. Former Middie Kyle Schwarber, now a free agent, accepted the check and told those at Fire Headquarters he fully supports the group’s efforts.
In the middle of January, Schwarber is scheduled to hold assemblies to promote character development, teamwork and Middie Way Baseball at the seven elementary schools in the district, Ferrell said.
“Our children need the opportunity to play a sport that has been silenced,” he said. “It’s called ‘America’s Pastime’ for a reason. Playing baseball is going to encourage the future development of that child. It’s a way to get them out of the silo, away from the screen and allows them to participate with other children. That’s what we are losing in our culture.”
MIDDIE WAY BASEBALL TIMELINE
June 13: Middie Way Baseball holds free fundamental camp.
July 18: Middie Way Baseball holds free fundamental camp.
Aug. 15: Middie Way Baseball holds free fundamental camp.
Sept. 21: City gives organization $10,000 grant to purchase baseball equipment.
Sept. 25: Middie Way Baseball holds free fundamental camp.
Nov. 3: Middletown firefighters union donates $16,564.98, proceeds from its golf tournament, to the organization.
Dec. 9: Little League accepts Middie Way Baseball into organization.
Spring 2022: Middie Way Baseball inaugural season begins.